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Finding the Right Tool

No matter what I am working on, there are tools to make the task easier. Whether they are cooking tools, gardening tools, home improvement tools, my iphone or the old fashioned needle and thread, the right tool makes all the difference. Knowing the correct tool and having it at hand will increase success and reduce stress. Have you ever tried using a shoe to put a nail in the wall instead of a hammer? Or tried using a regular screwdriver when you need a phillip's head? Frustration can take over when we do not have the right tool for the job.

When I am starting a job, I like to gather the right tools and have them handy. A number of years ago, I needed to replace the toilet in our one bathroom house. Being a broke single parent of two, I decided to tackle the job myself to save money. I researched online how to remove a toilet and install a new one. This was before the days of step by step youtube videos, so all I had to go on were some diagrams. I took a risk and started the process, wondering if we would have a flushable toilet by nightfall. It took me a while to figure it all out plus a couple of extra trips to Home Depot for the right fittings, but you can bet I was proud of that very first flush!

I needed three important tools to complete that project: the right equipment, valid instructions and the willingness to take a chance on messing up. That combination sounds a whole lot like parenting to me. The equipment is a parent and a child. But no child ever came with instructions. Imagine childbirth if babies came with a "quick start guide" : first comes the baby, then the placenta, then the instruction manual. That did not happen with either of my children. That "valid instructions" part is something we learn as we go. And sometimes the advice we get is not good or helpful or even close to "the right thing to do." That third component (the willingness to take a chance on messing up), is the scary one.

Figuring out how to nurture and guide another human being is the most important job we will ever do. It takes a lot of listening, learning and adding new tools to our parenting toolbox. If I had a time machine, there are days and situations as a parent that I would go back and handle differently. I was doing the best I could at the time with the information and knowledge I possessed when my five year old had a meltdown in Target. As I have added more tools to my parenting toolbox, I am better equipped to handle the ups and downs of guiding my children and forgiving myself for less than stellar moments in "Mom history."

If you are looking for more tools for your parent toolbox, we are launching a new class this month called "Positive Discipline Toolbox". The insights and information you gain from this class can increase the harmony in your home as you implement positive and effective guidance and communication techniques. Joining with other parents in a supportive community is a great tool for building family success

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